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J.J. Abrams has been mobbed by fanboys over the new lightsaber

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Just about everyone seemed to love the first trailer for The Force Awakens, but there was one reveal in it that a lot of Star Wars fans quickly took issue with: the villain's lightsaber has a laser crossguard. Was this a brilliant tactical addition? A quick way to cut your own hand off? The crossguard ignited some heated debates that had plenty of armchair lightsaber experts chiming in. It turns out, director J.J. Abrams is well aware of them. He discussed the response with Collider:

"This was not done without a lot of conversation."

"I will say that what’s been funny is, since the lightsaber’s come out, I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I have received from people who have both defended it with unbelievably detailed graphics," Abrams says. "I’ve gotten things that are nuts, and I’ve gotten people who’ve shown how it’ll kill you and how it doesn’t make any sense.  It’s been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing."

Abrams' lighthearted response may well be because he actually thought this thing through and, eventually, will have the material to back it up. Naturally, he and the team creating this movie had similar debates around the new lightsaber's design. "It was a number of conversations [that led to the design]," Abrams tells Collider. "It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse."

That hopefully means this thing makes some practical sense and is more than just a cool visual. (That said, it's not like the entire film's verisimilitude rests on one laser crossguard or anything.)

Abrams' use of CG is basically the opposite of what Lucas would do

Abrams also spoke to Collider briefly about his use of computer-generated effects in Episode VII. We've known all along that Abrams is leaning heavily on real sets and effects, but it's also a Star Wars movie, so there's no escaping CG. It turns out, Abrams use of CG is actually more reductive than additive — which is basically the total opposite approach that George Lucas would take.

“I feel like the beauty of this age of filmmaking is that there are more tools at your disposal, but it doesn’t mean that any of these new tools are automatically the right tools," Abrams says. "And there are a lot of situations where we went very much old school and in fact used CG more to remove things than to add things."

We're still far out from seeing the results, but it's expected that Disney will release a second trailer for The Force Awakens a few months from now. You can check out a few more words from Abrams on Episode VII over at Collider.